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It was good to welcome Breakaway back to NODA after a short break and with a production that was nicely accomplished, in a charming venue, that sat well with the play as it is perceived.

It was very pleasing to see a full house, and to be told that the remaining nights were also practically sold out.  Glad too, to see a number of youngsters there, who all appeared to enjoy the play, which says something about the production as a whole, as even the lighter of Shakespeare’s plays can be a step too far for many an adult, let alone a young person!

The setting with its background of trees was an ideal backdrop for a 1950’s version of ‘Dream’ – and even thought the original words were used, it translated well, and was very understandable.  The humour was very evident, and I think this made it eminently watchable.

I liked the costumes, which were 50’s style, but worked well within the play, and also for being in the open air.

The concept of Puck being very much an adult evil sprite was a good touch – and contrasted well with the other characters. Puck was played very well by Saleema Davies, giving the character spirit and a touch of viciousness and wickedness – I enjoyed the performance.

I liked the two younger couples – Jamie Russell-Curtis as Lysander, Oliver Sutton-Izzard as Demetrius, Clare Waller as Helena and Suzanne Drake as Hermia. They seemed to mould very well together and all created good diverse characters.  Oliver particularly had excellent facial expressions.

I thought that Hermia started a little diffidently, but gained in confidence and sound.

Hermia and Helena gave us a very fiery relationship, as did Lysander and Demetrius – whose moves were very well-choreographed during their fight.  The four also woke up very well from their slumbers!!

The ‘play’ was good, plenty of fun and innuendos – I liked it a lot.

Unfortunately it was quite a breezy evening when I saw the play, and some of the lines got a bit lost – always something to be aware of with outdoor performances, additional projection is often needed.

Rob Lewis was a very workmanlike Bottom – I liked his interpretation, although at times it threatened to overshadow the other characters, but I think in the main they held their own!  Rob got a lot of humour out of the part, and the kids just loved the ass’s head, and the ensuing misunderstandings, as did the adults.  All nicely accomplished.

Denis Briggs played Flute and made a lovely Thisbe, he got some good characterisation in his part(s), although he needed to pay attention to his arms,  a little bit more flamboyance would have added to an already fun character.

I liked Jill Davies who played Quince, she got lots of expression into the words, and her exasperation with Bottom and the others was nicely pitched.

Lesley Cowland as Snug and the Lion, was a very quiet character with good facial expressions, until she started roaring, which really gave us not only a good laugh, but a re-evaluation of her overall.

Hippolyta, played by Sarah Cooper was very regal in her bearing, and a good foil to John Kensett as Theseus/Oberon, who always gets such interest into his characters, I particularly liked his Oberon and his relationship with Titania.

Titania was played by Abigail Giles, who had the most wonderful projection, as well as looking the part, her green dress was beautiful and created the woodland fairy feel, a strong character, I liked her portrayal very much.

Egeus, the older statesman, was played with gravitas by David Martin.  David has a very deep voice that is pleasing to listen to.

Margie Skinner as Starveling, Owen Davies as Snout, along with Vicki Harris as a Fairy, all added much to the proceedings, creating some nice characters.

I had a good evening and thoroughly enjoyed the play, which had some really good performances in an ideal setting.

Breakaway Theatre Company


Director: Steph Harrison-Barker

review date: 24th July 2014

The Inn on the Park, St.Albans


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